O is for Orange.
One of my attachments to the Little House books had to do with the Christmas stocking, simple candy, maybe a toy. Those little items in my stocking were my favorites - in no small part because that was the stuff from Santa which required no weighty, mandatory gratitude. And in the toe, always, at least, even in the thinnest years, an orange. And I most loved that sweet/sour bit of fruit.
Nineteen years ago, D and I spent our first Christmas together in the barracks at Ft. Carson. The regular army, not too pleased to have National Guard folks there, even if we were on our way to the gulf, didn't tell us when the mess halls would be open for the holiday, until after they were done. So the two score or so of us who had not gone home for the holiday, having taken our leave the weekends before, were left hungry. The cabs didn't run on base, no pizza or Chinese delivery that day. Only the care packages sent by family, and the liquor brought out by the Irish chaplain. All the food was heavily sugared. I was not drinking at all, and wouldn't without real food anyway, D never drank, and we were both miserably hungry and sick of sweets. Sometime in the afternoon, oranges appeared like a Christmas miracle, and we each snagged several, and scurried away to feast together.
Our only requirement for holidays is that we have enough solid food that day. This week I got a bag of Clementines, sweet and easy to peel. One of our anesthesiologists at the Former Hospital would fill one wall of the lounge with cases of them, each year, this time of year. And the staff gobbled them joyously, gratefully. His generosity, especially in contrast with all the candy, seemed to me always so nurturing.
Off subject, I want to lead you off to a librarian blogger that deserves more readers - Shushie. I think of her as the punk librarian, because she once stated that libraries are punk, and for reasons I cannot articulate, I utterly agree with her.